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Snoop Dogg asks fans to 'unload' from guns

The rapper and other celebrities ask: Is your 401(k) retirement plan invested in public gun companies?
Recording artist Snoop Dogg performs onstage during an event on Jan. 30, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty for DirecTV)
Recording artist Snoop Dogg performs onstage during an event on Jan. 30, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz.

Snoop Dogg, one of the country's most distinguished rappers, is calling on his fans and Hollywood peers to join him in unloading their retirement plans from the gun industry. The rapper wants them to declare "#ImUnloading" to honor Americans who have been affected by gun violence.

Snoop Dogg partnered with Ron Conway, a tech leader in San Francisco, who is asking that companies offer socially responsible, "no guns allowed" investment options. They both aim to urge people to take the pledge in divesting their retirement portfolios from the gun industry.

"How I've been affected by gun violence over the years is through deaths of friends and family members and associates," the southern California entertainment icon says in the public service announcement. "I'm unloading for my loved ones that I lost."

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More than 51 million people have retirement portfolios that are likely invested in guns, according to statistics gathered by the Campaign to Unload, which released the video along with other organizations dedicated to reducing firearms violence. And nearly $2 billion in mutual funds has been invested in three American public gun companies. There have been at least 1.4 million deaths and injuries from gun violence since the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. There, two senior students murdered 12 of their peers and one teacher, and injured two dozen other people.

Snoop Dogg, 44, seems an unlikely candidate for an anti-gun video. His songs often glorify violence, drugs and guns, especially among gangs, and he has had several encounters with authorities. During the 1990s, he was arrested for the fatal shooting of a rival gang member. He later was acquitted in 1996 of first- and second-degree murder charges. He also has served probation for firearms possession.

But in 2013, Snoop Dogg, whose birth name is Calvin Broadus, called for peace in his song, "No Guns Allowed."

Actress Margot Bingham from "Boardwalk Empire," NFL linebacker Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks, and NBA forward Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Clippers, also appear in the video. The new release is the second part of the "Unload Your 401(k)" project by the Campaign to Unload and States United to Prevent Gun Violence.

"There is a straight line from gun industry investment, to gun industry profits, to funding of the NRA," said Jennifer Fiore, executive director of Campaign to Unload.